A couple of days ago I tried to describe how the leading GOP presidential candidate justifies every outrageous statement, every harebrained idea, every bigoted and sexist utterance as anti-Political Correctness:
…the leading GOP presidential candidate who would replace the “Political Correctness” of compassion, tolerance, equal justice and opportunity and other core American values with the barbarism of “taking out” the families of our enemies; with the heartlessness of mass deportations of millions of men, women and children; with the cruelty of shutting our doors to refugees and to those of a different religion; with the prejudice and bigotry against those of a different skin color, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or even gender.
Today we can add to Trump’s anti-Political Correctness and to his disrespect and vulgarity towards women — calling them “slob”, “fat pig,” demeaning their appearance, making crude references to their menstrual cycle — even more despicable toilet “humor” and “an “astonishingly sexist” attack against former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton.
But also today, Dana Milbank at the Washington Post explains in a much better way how “The GOP turns ‘political correctness’ into the mother of all straw men.”
The notion of political correctness became popular on college campuses a quarter-century ago but has recently grown into the mother of all straw men. Once a pejorative term applied to liberals’ determination not to offend any ethnic or other identity group, it now is used lazily by some conservatives to label everything classified under “that with which I disagree.” GOP candidates are now using the “politically correct” label to shut down debate — exactly what conservatives complained politically correct liberals were doing in the first place.
Milbank explains how in the eyes of many Conservatives — in particular Trump et al — “the politically correct label has become a tic.”
A few examples.
How does he explain his praise of Putin? “I’m not going to be politically correct.” How does he respond to the British prime minister’s criticism? “You want to be so politically correct all the time.” Does his anti-Muslim rhetoric radicalize more jihadists? “We can be politically correct, and I could say, ‘Oh well, no, there’s no problem.’?”
He said there are “major problems” with having women in combat but the military is proceeding because “they want to be politically correct.” He defended profiling of Muslims by law enforcement and said anybody who disagrees “wants to be politically correct.”
If you don’t support his (false) allegation that thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the World Trade Center collapse, Trump said, that is because “it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it.” Defending his plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, Trump warned that we will “become so politically correct as a country that we can’t even walk. We can’t think properly. We can’t do anything.”
“Some people believe that borders have become outdated,” the New Jersey governor said. “They don’t believe in nation-states. They believe in a post-American world. . . . We have to speak out against it even when it becomes politically incorrect to do so.”
Ted Cruz: “Political correctness is killing people.”
Carly Fiorina: “our government has become inept, sometimes because it is politically correct.”
Mike Huckabee: François Hollande is a “politically correct French president” and France is a “politically correct country.”
Ben Carson: “There’s no such thing as political correctness when you’re fighting an enemy who wants to destroy you.”
I still say, if this is all they got against Political Correctness, “Thank God for Political Correctness.”
Lead image: www.shutterstock.com
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.